30 November, 2006

It's Exhausting...

This is what it looks like when you've been sick all week, you feel a bit better, decide to dress up as a ballerina, and become soooo exhausted by putting on your costume that you need to lie back down. Poor baby.

I would show you what it looks like when you are sooooo exhausted from blogging each day all MONTH, but I don't think it would be quite as cute.

29 November, 2006

Today's topic...no, wait. Darn.

Drat! And again, drat, I say. I was quite excited to see I've been tagged for a meme by Everwhelming Liz - I love these things, and I am in dire need of some interesting things to say as we head to December. But then, as I started typing, it seemed familiar. TOO familiar. Yep. So, see my archives and look at 15 October for that one.

Lilybean is indeed sick, so sick that I sent my charming spouse to the computer last night to blog FOR me because Lily was asleep on me, feverish and coughing up a lung, or so you would think. My 2 AM call to the nurse line was oddly reassuring (especially since the nurse was in California and I'm in England...weird). Despite coughing till she threw up, twice, the Bean has no "Get thee to the doctor right now" symptoms. I don't think it's croup, because she's not exactly barking, but at times I wondered last night.

Our pediatrician is calling me back today to do a phone consult. I'd just like to know if there is a cough suppressant on the planet that would help her stop long enough to go to sleep. Poor little cookie. Kids look so small when they don't feel well. She hasn't eaten more than an apple wedge or two in over a day. She is drinking, though. Send happy, healing thoughts her way...

What else? I'm really close to finishing the Snowdrop, or at least to getting started on the I-cord top edging. If Lily conks out, I'll be on that. Christmas shopping is pretty much done, except some bits for nieces and nephews. Cards...sigh. Maybe when I have had some more sleep.

Speaking of no sleep, I was SO thankful for Mr. Ward, the taxi, today. David's school is so small that there's no school bus, just the school taxi. Last year he rode there and back in the taxi most days. This year it's not as consistent, because Lily goes to preschool round the corner in the mornings, I usually drive David as well. But with Lily so sick, Mr. Ward has added David back to the morning run this week. Bless his heart. This also meant that when Lily feel asleep at 6, I could stay on the couch with her while my mom got David ready for school.

p.s. Check out my buddy Lynn's blog as well. She's been quite the busy lady, and just finished some kickin' socks. I am envious, but I have accepted Sockless November as the price I pay for Snowdrop November. Heh.

28 November, 2006

Minimal post

This is a pro-forma post, because the Lilybean is sick (cold/flu/ickiness) and that's where the priority is right now. Back tomorrow!

27 November, 2006

Today's Snowdrop Progress

Here's what you can do when you are at home with a non-running car and a nose-running, sick little girlie who's mostly sleeping - check the size of your Snowdrop Shawl:

While Lily drowsed, I took the shawl off the needles to spread it out a bit. Without even beginning to block it, I can see that it will be amply big. In fact, I won't be adding the edge to this one, or it would be about 5 feet long at the tip and waaaay too big an armspan. As it is, with two more repeats (1.5 really) to go, I'm thinking it may be too big. Is there such a thing?

The next one (hee!) will be stopped sooner or knit with even finer yarn so I can try the edging.

26 November, 2006

Turkey Lurkey Loo...

Here's what Thanskgiving turkey looks like on Day 4:

I'd say it's a good thing we only cooked a 4-kilo turkey, wouldn't you, Gentle Reader? The turkey noodle soup was lovely for tonight's dinner, though. All's pretty much well here as we roll to the end of the lovely long weekend.

A few glitches popped up - the weather totally failed to cooperate yesterday so the friends we hoped would come by couldn't make it, Lily has blossomed with a lovely cough today, and...what else? Oh. Yeah. My lovely little car won't start. The engine turns over but immediately stops unless you keep the gas pressed. Taxi man is lined up for David for school tomorrow, and I'll be communing with the local garage. I think they tow in. I sure hope they do!!

25 November, 2006

Just a Quiet Weekend Day

Ahhhh. The end of a quiet, rainy day here, and I'm about to settle in with a mug of tea and my sweetie to watch a movie. I don't really have much to say - I'm about to end the second ball of wool on the Snowdrop shawl, however. It looks like it will take most of three balls to get the main body done, and then perhaps one more for the edging. We'll see.

This I know for certain, I will not get my varsity Sock Letter for the Sock-a-Month Knitalong this month. There are no socks on the needles, or in mind, right now. I'm just sayin'...

24 November, 2006

Day 24

Day 24 of the NaBloPoMo - and I am hanging in there. Came close to forgetting today, however. Yoikes!

Mom and I went to the Sandringham Craft Show today, and it was surprisingly easy to resist the things on offer there. Guess I am Craft-Showed-out.

This afternoon, David's buddy Nathan came to play and as usual they had a terrific time. I love watching them set up a game and play for ages. Today they spent a long time with the wooden track, making a mondo layout (spanning two rooms and connecting to Nathan's Thunderbirds playset he brought along). And they are always so tolerant of Lily, including her quite often in things they do. Good kids all around.

David the Elder and I just started watching Casino Royale, the original "Bond" movie starring David Niven. One word: Ewwww. It's very campy and tongue-in-cheek and British Bad. Not worth my telly-watching time, really. I'm lobbying for bedtime. Night, all!

23 November, 2006

Oh MY!

The childebeestes went to school today, as we were planning to dine late and a day of cooking is much more fun for all when children don't have to loll around. Lily came home at lunch and helped make our lovely centerpiece with Grandma. David attended the opening of the village shop with his schoolmates (all 70 or so). Guess who officiated? PRINCE CHARLES!! Click that link for an article about the shop and the Prince.

p.s. The shop is lovely, and the meat they sell is good stuff indeed. Not too pricey, either.

Happy Day to You

Happy Fabu Glamtastic Thanksgiving Day, Gentle Reader. May all your celebrations be occasions for family, happiness, warmth, and crazy-cool centerpieces like ours.

22 November, 2006


On the day before Thanksgiving, I just want to say "Is it too early to start playing Christmas music 24/7 on the iPod, the radio, the laptop?"

I know you'll say "Why, yes. Yes, it IS too early." But I can dream.

Did I mention I got two 3-foot fakey trees so the kids can do their own thing decorating, as well as decorating the big one we'll get? Did I mention I bought another 3-footer for the Knitting House? (Fear not, they were less than 3 pounds each.) I am definitely ready to get in the Christmas mode.

21 November, 2006

What I Did Today

What I did today was...bake pies. Lots of pies. These are going to folks David works with, for Thanksgiving. I had a lot of fun with the apple pies, although my Stoopid Brain took over and I skipped a crucial slicing step for the first two pies. I'm confident they all taste equally appley and yummy, even if they aren't as pretty as the Smart Brain pie pictured here. Also made three pumpkin pies, which were definitely tough to resist.

Tomorrow is baking day for our Thanksgiving dinner - but I think I'll let today's pictures speak for both days of baking.

20 November, 2006

Just Another Not-so-Manic Monday

Seems like this Monday has just moved on by without event, although I am positive we did something today...

Preschool staff and mummies were quite happy about the money raised this weekend, we put up new (to us) drapes in the dining room so now the radiator is not covered in curtain fabric, and we actually ate some leftovers for a change. So, there's that.

Come to think of it, the highlight of the day was when I averted a near-disaster with a holiday present we had picked up yesterday. (Now, really, don't you think that when items come in two boxes, the staff might politely advise you when you've taken only one?) I was actually gazing upon the beauty of said present this morning when I saw the dreaded "Box 1 of 2" notice on it. With 90 minutes until preschool pick-up time, Mom and I were off to town in a flash. The manager was expecting us :) - she'd noticed the problem this morning, so when she saw the lady run in and go right for a "box number 2" she was ready.

Sorry, no pictures today and no really enlightening observations. Day 20 of NaBloPoMo isn't the best day so far. Here's to better tomorrows.

19 November, 2006

Three Words for You.

Best. Bond. EVAR. David and I were lucky enough to see Casino Royale this afternoon. I make no apologies. I'm a big fan of the James Bond flicks. I love them: good, bad, and really bad. This one blew all the others out of the water. "Daniel Craig is the new Bond hotness. All other Bonds are old and busted," to totally rip off Will Smith's line in Men in Black. David thought it was terrific, too. In fact, the first words out of his mouth as the closing credits rolled were indeed "Best. Bond. EVAR."

A grand day at the movies...

18 November, 2006

Progress, progress, progress

The Snowdrop Shawl is actually growing, although it's hard to believe night after night as seem to do only 3 or 4 rows... Check out the latest shot. There's enough to drape now.

The boot sale was a pretty good success today. We got windburned and stiff but moved most of the donated items and made 104 pounds, or 196 dollars. Rock on! That still does not include the money I will kick in for some things I cherry-picked during sorting, and have to pay for. A nice bit of change for the preschool funds and I learned some boot sale wheeler-dealer-man-ship from David, as well!

Something else to check out is my sister-in-law's babywearing blog, for a nice essay and a link to an absolutely gorgeous mei tai sling she made. Maybe I inherit my crafty side from the in-laws??

17 November, 2006

What I did today...

No pictures, no scintillating observations today. I do apologize, Gentle Reader.

Today's theme was "Get Ready for the Big Car Boot Sale," and it's been a very long day. We are participating in the boot sale (like a giant multi-seller yard sale) to raise funds for Lily's preschool. This morning, I picked up a last carload of donations, to add to the boxes of things already donated and waiting at home. Mom and I spent the afternoon sorting out items by category and then David and I sorted into prices this evening. For the crowning touch of sheer excitement, we managed to pack everything into one car. I really thought we'd need to take two, but "I was wrong." Right, sweetie?

By leaving out the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, a bunch of books, and assorted china/glassware, David was able to Tetris everything into one vehicle. It's highly stacked, and there's absolutely no visibility through the rear window, but well done! There's another jumble sale coming up in 2 weekends where we can take tomorrow's leftovers and the things we didn't pack in this time.

Now it's eggnog time, soon to be bedtime. Early start tomorrow - mom will watch kidlings while David and I wheel and deal.

16 November, 2006

One Word

Day 16 of NaBloPoMo and I'm flagging just a bit. To my rescue, a nifty (and brief)list of things about me that you never knew you wanted to know. Seriously, thanks to knitchat.com for this one...

1. Yourself: chilly

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): loving

3. Your hair: greying

4. Your mother: role-model

5. Your father: sad

6. Your favorite item: ring (wedding)

7. Your dream last night: forgotten

8. Your favorite drink: coffeeeeeeeee

9. Your dream car: Mini

10. The room you are in: cluttered!

11. Your ex: distant(memory)

12. Your fear: loss

13. What you want to be in 10 years? healthy

14. Who you hung out with last night? hubby

15. What You’re Not? polished

16. Muffins: Ehhh.

17. One of your wish list items: ballwinder

18. Time: enemy

19. The last thing you did: phone

20. What you are wearing: scarf

21. Your favorite weather: monterey-ish

22. Your favorite book: Unfair! (not just one....)

23. The last thing you ate: motrin

24. Your life: blessed

25. Your mood: pensive

26. Your best friend: warm

27. What are you thinking about right now? shawl

28. Your car: blue

29. What are you doing at the moment? idling

30. Your summer: crazy

31. Your relationship status: great

32. What is on your TV? fingerprints

33. What is the weather like? windy

34. When is the last time you laughed? recently

15 November, 2006

Today's Funny Brought to You by SPLU.net

Yes, Gentle Reader, I have The Funny linked right here, and it is good: Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager. You must go HERE and watch these short videos. They're hilarious, and even safe to watch with kids around. I can't wait for Episode 5...

14 November, 2006

What? No knitting??

Ai yi yi...another day with no knitting as yet. Time has gotten away from me. Took the small D. to an allergist appointment and then lunched with uppercase AND lowercase Ds before returning lowercase to school. Came home to a nice HUGE pile of leaves and dragged them to the mulch pile. Consumed much-delayed coffee. Delivered small D. to Beavers (small Scouts) field trip to the grocery store. Consumed MORE coffee in store cafe. Read gossip magazine. However, I bought it for a friend of a friend. Honest!

Now it's time for one last coffee and mebbe even some of that knitting stuff.

I leave you with this question from David's letter to Santa: "P.S. Can you make snow fall? Or are you just used to it?"

13 November, 2006

Thank You, ZoomCafe

At David's suggestion, we made these for dinner tonight...funky! The recipe is on the Zoom web site - we altered it to use hummous for the dip and veggies on hand for the other bits. Lots of fun to make.

12 November, 2006

Best. King Arthur. Tale. EVER.

I finished reading The Sword in the Stone to David this evening. This has been an off-and-on part of our bedtime routine for a few months. The first time I read this book, at 9 or so, it rocked me back on my heels to encounter such vivid writing; I've re-read it many, many times since and the older I grow, the better it is.

It was a perfect read-aloud book for us, giving me a chance to perform and David a chance to sit back and be read TO. That's a rarity when you're 7 and your reading levels are far off the scales... The writing style is denser and much more descriptive than today's books aimed at children, even the Harry Potter books, but it's a terrific tale even at his age for listening. I loved the edition pictured here, which has some absolutely gorgeous color illustrations in it by Dennis Nolan.

In other news, mom's returned from the Mystery Tour, which packed a LOT into 3 days. They visited Oxford, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, AND Greenwich (home of the prime meridian and Greenwich Mean Time and the Cutty Sark and lots of coolness). But wait, that wasn't quite enough - how about the London Eye as well? Quite the weekend!!

11 November, 2006

Art and Life and Veterans' Day

Today is Veterans' Day, or Remembrance Day here in the United Kingdom. My political opinions aren't a topic I choose to talk about in this blog. In general, politics doesn't make for very good conversation anyway, does it? Politics aside, I am proud to be an Army veteran, a daughter of a World War II Army veteran, a sister and sister-in-law of Navy veterans. I am proudest of my husband, an Air Force veteran now back in the blue suit after 9/11. This day is deeply important to me. I remember those who have served, and I honor those who have fallen and those who are serving their countries now.

Garry Trudeau is the author of Doonesbury. He's been talking about the wounded veterans of this Iraq war for the past three years, in a way as real as art can be, in that way that great characters and great writing can become real. Today I read an awesome article about him, about the strip, and about some of the veterans whose stories he's been telling in a way. On this day, why not check it out here?

10 November, 2006

Yoda's Got a Buddy...and Tales from the iPod

Dadster found one of the picture files with Yoda AND Anakin. Don't they make a lovely pair? I can't believe how young David looks - he was nearly 5 there and looks so babyfaced to me now.

More randomness for your reading pleasure...how about "Stuff That's On My iPod" for a topic? There are four Rick Astley songs on there, and I'm not ashamed to say it. Hey, remember the 80s? I sure do. There is NO Tiffany, however, or Debbie Gibson. A girl has to have her standards.

Other iPod goodness...all U2 songs EVAR, because D's iPod is a U2 edition. George Strait and lots of him, for a weird juxtaposition. One Blues Traveler song. Moody Blues. Grateful Dead. Simon and Garfunkel. Barenaked Ladies. Barry White, baybee. All the 80s music you can choke on, says D. And lots (as in many, many songs worth of lots) of Johnny Cash (souvenir of D's latest trip to the Sandbox and some file-sharing). And you know something, Gentle Reader? I have discovered that I really like Johnny Cash.

[Edited with News Of Mom as of this evening] I've waited to post today so we can all know the exciting Magical Mystery Destination for my mom. She was picked up at the door this morning at 0730, and taken on a long long journey. Spoke to her at lunchtime, when she was dining in Oxford, where they visited the Ashmolean. Now she is in Reading. Our guess WAS a seaside destination on the southern coast (like Bournemouth or the Isle of Wight) but they are actually in the Reading area, near Wokingham. The hotel is quite posh, and she reports that her bed is about 7 feet square. Tomorrow there will be a Mystery Expedition. They're 20 miles from Windsor - my guess is Windsor Castle or perhaps a Random Stately Home?

09 November, 2006

Blog you must! Mmmmm....

"Blog daily you must," decrees young Yoda. This is actually a Halloween pic from 2004 - D. found it while working with some older hard drives. Lily was 6 months old for this one - David was Anakin, and a very cute Anakin he made as well. D. didn't send that picture to me, so you'll have to take my word for it.

All's well. I am into the second ball of wool for Snowdrop, which is gratifying. It proves progress, even when I can't really see it.

Mom is packing for a Magical Mystery Tour. Well, it's a Mystery Tour....3 days to somewhere, courtesy of our local travel agents. Cool, no? She'll have a mobile phone along, so she can tell us where they are, when they get there. I'm thinking Blackpool. She thinks York. Stay tuned, Gentle Reader!

08 November, 2006

Snowdrop Progress Pictures

Two posts in a day - mercy! Actually, I forgot to post these pictures in the previous entry and wanted to show them off anyway. You can see I have done a little bit in the past few days, but it's still nearly impossible to see the beauty that will come, even when I try to stretch it out a bit with my fingers. This pattern is really intriguing, and keeps my interest without completely taking my mind away from activities around me. I have even been able to watch a little television while knitting on it. Impressed? I am. Heh.

I'm all about the little-bit-boring stuff today. My mom has been very busy with the computer and CNN.com, checking out election results while rubbing her hands together gleefully. "All as planned, all as planned, mwah hahahahahahahah!" Well, that's sort of what she's doing. And felicitations to you, Mother Dear, voting in your very first election ever. (New citizen this year, doncha know...)

Boring-ish knit content - I continue to make progress with the Snowdrop Shawl, even though I kind of a little bit fell asleep in front of the fire last night, instead of finishing the repeat as I had planned. My rudimentary geometry skills tell me I am 25% done with the main triangle, but it's got a mighty big edging as well, so I have a long way to go.

Just to keep you busy, this quiz was quite fun, and one of the first that has actually pegged my origins correctly. Usually I am diagnosed as Standard Broadcast American English or Midwestern. Which I'm not.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Northeast

Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak.

The Inland North
The Midland
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

07 November, 2006

Election Day in the U.S. of A.

....Have you? We voted by mail, sending ballots back to our home state of record (New York). I am actually glad we voted absentee, reading a little online about today's electronic voting machine and numerous glitches. Mail-in ballots still are tangible sheets of paper, big ones in the case of New York state.

All's well in our corner of the world. There was leaf-clearing and kindling-gathering this afternoon, and a bit of shopping as well. The kids are doing a Chrismas gift thing for a charity through the primary school. David was back at school today, but Lily helped me buy some of the bits and pieces to fill each shoebox today. One small problem: the shoeboxes are too small. We'll have to find some bigger ones to pack all the goodies in by Friday, when the school is gathering all the boxes. That's a nice problem to have, however.

Have a terrific day, and if you are in the States reading this today, VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE! 'mKay? That'd be.....great.

06 November, 2006

You know what's great?

Here's what's great: cheesecake, a fire, some interesting knitting (I am into about row 100 of the Snowdrop shawl), and an iPod on random. Signe from Eric Clapton's Unplugged, Ripple and Box of Rain from the Grateful Dead's American Beauty album....all kinds of loveliness comes up and makes for a really relaxing evening.

Semi-extended weekend day here at Casa de Coughing. Small D stayed home from school with HIS cough and a little fever. He was much too cheery about no school, though, and as the fever has gone, he will be doped with cough medicine and sent to school tomorrow. Lily had preschool, during which time I did a little long-overdue paperwork. And coughed. A lot. There were naps in the afternoon for small D and me and my mom. Big D worked on reviving a computer. Pretty slow day, all in all.

Ah well, back to my knitting. I have at least an hour before I get too tired to follow the pattern. Cheers!

05 November, 2006

Remember, Remember...

Remember, remember
The 5th of November,
Gunpowder, treason, and plot!

Yep, today is Guy Fawkes Day here in England. In honor of this failed revolutionary, fireworks have been going off all weekend. We didn't go see any displays with the kids, but we did light some sparklers in the garden tonight and in lieu of a bonfire, we had this:

Isn't that a pretty sight? The first fire of the 2006/2007 season. It was a lovely afternoon here by the fireside. I hope it was equally relaxing wherever you may be.

Time-shifted November 4th...

Sooooo...on our mini-trip, we were unsuccessful in findiing WiFi. Went out to two local pub/clubs but there was NO signal and MUCH Guy Fawkes weekend madness. So here's what I tried to post then...Written on the appropriate day, at least!
Gentle Reader, I almost forgot about posting for day 4 of NaBloPoMo -
yoikes! DH and I are on our mini-getaway in town, and our hotel,
whilst fetching and comfy and all that, has no notion of the
internet. So I've enjoyed an entire day and a half without even
thinking about computers or email or blogs - until dinner tonight.
We did bring the laptop because I had intentions of finding local
wireless connection to upload a post. And if we succeed in that, I
shall indeed post this tonight. Either way, more from me tomorrow.
Mebbe even a picture or something! Yours in utter relaxation, Susie

03 November, 2006

Socks, Needle Size, The Universe, and Everything

This morning I used my trusty new (replacement) Susan Bates Knit-Check gauge checker to check the needles I've been using for socks. The trusty blue needles are not size 1. Nope, they're size 0. Who knew? And here I thought they were size 2 at first. Goes to show you that an old cigar box (however kitschy and kicky it may be) is not the most organized place to keep DPNs. Heh. Maybe I'll start keeping the gauge checker in there too.

What this means is - to knit any tighter in lightweight socks, I'll have to move into 1.5 mm or 1 mm needles. What are those called in US sizes? 00? Or maybe I need to knit some socks in thicker wool. I have a rawther loose stitch gauge and my Vanilla Blue socks (56 stitches around on these size 0 needles) are already seeming floppy on my nonskinny ankles, after only a month of occasional wear. Those were knit in a DK weight machine-washable wool blend (Sirdar something). However, I had been gentle washing and then air-drying.

Today's experiment was to machine wash and dry them like normal clothing and see if they spring back a bit. The result was equivocal. They shrank in length a teeny bit, but sprang back almost perfectly to original width/circumference. Sooooo, I will knit the next pair 4 stitches narrower but 10 rows longer in the toe. I've got a lot of that wool and I love the way it feels on my feet. Sadly, I think the Vanilla Blue socks go to my mom's sock drawer now, however. She has shorter but still wide feet!

Boring stuff, I know, but with the Sock-A-Month KAL, I think about socks a bit :) There are a few more patterned socks out there that I'd like to tackle in plain colors. I love the look of the Diamante Socks in the fall '06 Knitty, and they are also an interesting challenge because they are knit from the toes up. But the pattern is 72 stitches around, and I would have to downsize that too. I might even have to .... swatch!! Aiyeeeee. The author did post a 60-stitch version on her blog, and I have got it somewhere on my computer now.

ANYway. This weekend there'll probably be SOME Snowdrop Shawl knitting time. DH and I are heading away for a couple of nights, all of 5 miles away into town. We'll be staying here, within easy reach of my mom if she needs help with the kiddly beans:

Lots of downtime with my darling. It's a Good Thing. Thank you very much, Mother Dear!!!

02 November, 2006

Ghosts Walkin'

Tonight my agenda includes no knitting.

Do not despair, Gentle Reader, because I shall be joining a Ghost Walk around Ely in Cambridgeshire. This is a lovely little city, and I know approximately nothing about it except that Oliver Cromwell lived here. Apparently it's quite haunted as well. Maybe we'll see old Oliver tonight.

This is the November event for the spouses' group I belong to, and afterward there will be Pizza Express. With grownups only. Imagine!! Almost makes up for not being able to knit and walk in the dark at the same time...

01 November, 2006

The Complex Project

This is what I have been communing with in the knitting house, for several hours yesterday and again for a little while today. I'm into the 3rd set of pattern repeats and I think I'm finding my groove now. It is the Yarn Harlot's Snowdrop Shawl and I am in lurv.

I am using the Swaledale wool I got from a local charity shop (3 pounds 49 pence for over a pound of very finely spun wool). The wool is a bit "rustic" in look and feel but feels softer to knit and touch than I feared it might. Needles - Clover US size 5 bamboo with flexible ends and a bead for the end. Sort of like knitting with a circular cut in half.

If you squint and imagine this stretched out, you can see the pattern really starting here as I finish row 77. This is going to be a timesucker of epic proportions, I can see - not that there's anything WRONG with that...